I have selected the seventh chapter, Of God’s Covenant, to demonstrate why I do not subscribe to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. First, it fails to adequately explain the purpose of a covenant; Second, it makes the gracious covenant subservient to the fall of man; Third, it makes the gracious covenant a free offer to sinners; Fourth, it makes the gracious covenant conditional on the sinner’s faith; Fifth, it implies the gracious covenant is different from the gospel; Sixth, it implies the gracious covenant is different from the eternal covenant; Seventh, it fails to highlight the distinct roles assumed by the Triune Jehovah in the gracious covenant. Henceforth, I believe this statement falls short of giving a concise and accurate account of God’s covenant.
Now, lest I be charged with departing from the orthodox faith, it should be understood that I belong to a formidable camp of gospel ministers of like faith and order—William Gadsby, John Kershaw, John Warburton, J.C. Philpot, Charles Banks, John Stevens, John Foreman, John Hazleton, David Crumpton, W.J. Styles, George Wright, John Cooper, Samuel Collins and James Wells. To this list may also be added John Gill, whose Body of Divinity distinctly teaches against the views enunciated in the seventh chapter of the 1689 Confession.
1689 Confession: Chapter 7—Of God’s Covenant
1. The distance between God and the Creature is so great, that although reasonable Creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of Life, but by some voluntary condescension on Gods part, which he hath been pleased to express, by way of Covenant.
2. Moreover Man having brought himself under the curse of the Law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace wherein he freely offereth unto Sinners, Life and Salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them Faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal Life, his holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.
3. This Covenant is revealed in the Gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of Salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, untill the full discovery thereof was compleated in the new Testament; and it is founded in that Eternal Covenant transaction, that was between the Father and the Son, about the Redemption of the Elect; and it is alone by the Grace of this Covenant, that all of the posterity of fallen Adam, that ever were saved, did obtain life and a blessed immortality; Man being now utterly uncapable of acceptance with God upon those terms, on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.